November 9th, 2014
The title of this article is misleading. Technically, Republicans can’t rebrand — because they have no brand. None. They need one, fast.
But, as you can read, I don’t question herein whether Republicans can rebrand but whether they will rebrand. Branding takes guts.
Republicans, in general, fear being labeled as racists, just for pushing back against a black, socialistic president. Gutless, they fear this racist label more than they love the Constitution — and, therefore, have no brand.
To have a brand (value proposition), the target audience must — in 15 seconds — react to, remember, and repeat the branding organization’s message. I challenge anyone to identify the GOP’s message.
In Silicon Valley, many have become outrageously rich — from sheer luck: they were with the right companies at the right times. Yet, so many lucky ones brag about being geniuses. Spare me. It’s downright amusing.
Republicans won landslide elections this month. Definitely a right-place-right-time phenomenon.
What is that right place? A country, drowning in a cacophony of chaos, fed up with Barack Obama and his fundamentally transforming, socialistic, divisive, wealth-zapping, dream-draining, culture-crushing policies.
Sadly, most Americans have no clue why their country is in decline: only 36% of them can name the three branches of government. But, these low-information voters know that Barack Obama promised them hope, change, and undisrupted healthcare. Instead, they got a weaker, disrespected, declining nation.
So, Americans elected Republicans to stop Obama. They may not understand yield curves or know who won the Civil War, but they grasp rent, unemployment, and high deductibles.
Republicans are in danger of misinterpreting their victories this month as a mandate, a vote for something. And, they’re wrong. Again, Americans elected Republicans for one purpose: to stop Obama.
Recently, we had a leak in our septic system. We hired a company to stop the leak. Do we need these guys anymore? No. We thanked them for a job well done. Now, it’s back to life as usual.
Either You Have Balls, or You Don’t
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), presumptive Senate majority leader, already claimed that, as long as veto-wielding Barack Obama is president, the GOP cannot repeal Obamacare. Why are you there, McConnell? Are you familiar with overriding a veto? What if George Washington had demurred at fighting for independence from the British, fearing the veto of King George III?
Either you have balls, or you don’t. Republican senators must select a majority leader so equipped, either anatomically or metaphorically.
Hence, if the Republicans don’t clearly and uniquely represent a specific purpose, if they’re not for something beyond stopping Obama’s “septic-system leak,” Americans will vote them out in the next election. Are you getting this, Reince Priebus?
Two years ago, after Mitt Romney lost the presidential election to Barack Obama, I wrote “How Republicans Can Rebrand.” This was my advice, none of which the GOP heeded:
The GOP is now at a crossroads. Obama’s Candyland will fail, because socialism always fails, but those hooked on candy will beg for more. Republicans must, therefore, lay the groundwork now to reemerge with strength. If, instead, they wallow in self-pity and let critical time pass, they will lose again in 2016. They must present a refreshed face to the country.
The GOP can rebrand as the GNP, the Grand New Party, to end Candyland. End it, once and for all. How? Republicans must become republicans, those who faithfully defend the republic and honor the individual. Grand New Party and gross national product (also GNP) must become synonymous!
Continuing to make adult speeches about small government to infantile voters, hoping to get their votes, is futile. The GNP must teach “children of all ages” about the US Constitution, republican basics, free enterprise, failed socialism, and adulthood responsibilities. Change the narrative, massively.
Or, the GOP can cowardly close its doors, in retreat, to join the Democrat Party. What Republicans cannot do, if they want to survive and thrive, is forget why they’re not Democrats.
My Parting Advice to Republicans
Reread, absorb, internalize, and execute my aforementioned advice, which I offered after Mitt Romney’s inexcusable defeat in 2012. Until you become small-r republicans, portraying yourselves as capital-R Republicans is laughable.
The Democrats are for dependence, group victimhood, Big Government, taxes, regulations, and redistribution of wealth. All Americans and foreigners grasp that. Republicans can’t just say they’re against these burdens.
Republicans must tell Americans why they will benefit from small government, personal liberty, low taxes, and wealth-creation. This may seem idiotic, but Americans know little about free enterprise and capitalism — or much else. Given that 75% of Americans earn $55K or less per year, this will be a huge branding challenge. Are you up to it?
Taking my cue from Mitch McConnell, who’s afraid to repeal Obamacare, I’m betting that Republicans will not rebrand (brand).
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2014 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.